How Plaid Cymru Works - 6

This is the sixth tranche of emails from the correspondence between various people in Plaid Cymru and myself, following a complaint about what I had written on the subject of the Ynys Môn by-election last year. For easy reference, I've put together the all the previous correspondence on this page, which I will keep updating as further emails are published.

From: Chris Franks
Sent: Saturday, 19 October 2013, 8:52am
To: Michael Haggett
Subject: Complaint

Dear Michael

It is my duty to inform you that the DMS Panel has considered the report of the investigating Officer and has concluded that there are grounds to convene a formal hearing into the complaints against you.

Accordingly arrangements are now in hand to convene a meeting of the Panel to be held on Monday 28 October 2013. The Hearing will be held at Ty Gwynfor, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff. You are entitled to attend, present evidence both oral and written and also be represented at the Hearing. The same rights will be accorded to the complainant. Any written evidence should be presented by 5.00 pm Friday 16 October.

Please confirm that you have received this email.

The complaints made by Elin Jones AM against you are;

I can confirm that I am making my complaint against Michael Hagget, the author of the blog Syniadau, on the basis that the content of the blogs of July 20th, July 28th, July 30th and August 15th all included statements that were damaging to the public reputation of Plaid Cymru (Standing Order 3.1.iii). The blog can be found here:

I have included here 3 sentences/paragraphs in particular that were damaging:

“We do not need dishonest politicians like Rhun ap Iorwerth. If he's elected on Thursday he will be a liability to Plaid Cymru for years to come, because he clearly isn't interested in Plaid's policies for Wales. He is a cuckoo who has duped his way into our nest in order to follow a private agenda of his own, or the agenda of a narrow interest group within the party that refuses to accept democratic decisions made by the membership as a whole.”

“If Rhun wants clarity, then we need to be absolutely clear that he is misleading people on this issue by telling blatant lies.”

“If Rhun ap Iorwerth is elected, it would be a tragedy for Plaid Cymru, for Ynys Môn and for Wales.”

You have indicated previously that you have a copy of the relevant Constitution and Standing Orders so I only include below the relevant clauses relating to the formal hearing

4.6  Where they resolve that there is a case to answer, they shall convene a formal hearing which will:

     4.6i  Receive and examine the report of the Investigating Officer

     4.6ii  Hear from and examine the evidence of the complainant(s) or
     their representatives.

     4.6iii  Hear from and examine the evidence of the person(s) being the
     subject of the complaint(s) or their representatives.

     4.6iv  Either party may submit written evidence which shall be received
     and examined.

4.7  The Panel will determine the outcome and dismiss the case, or alternatively impose appropriate sanction where culpability is established. This decision will usually be made and conveyed to all parties on the day of the formal hearing. However in exceptional circumstances the Hearing Panel may reserve judgement for further deliberation.


5.1  Sanctions that may be imposed may include, but are not limited to

     5.1i  Denial of an application for membership

     5.1ii  Admonition

     5.1iii  Formal written warning

     5.1iv  Instructions as to future conduct;

     5.1v  Suspension from membership for a period not exceeding 12 months;

     5.1vi  Exclusion from the Party.

5.2  In determining sanctions, the Hearing Panel shall consider whether the imposition of a sanction is necessary at all and, if so, whether a lesser sanction will suffice.

5.3  Resolution of culpability and determination of an appropriate sanction may be reached by majority decision within the Hearing Panel where unanimity is not achieved.

5.4  The Hearing Panel shall maintain a written record of its deliberations and findings.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Franks

Chair Membership, Discipline and Standards Panel

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Anonymous said...

Elin Jones!!! That would explain a lot about why Chris Franks was being so defensive. You don't say no to the deputy leader.

Anonymous said...

Not just "Elin Jones" but "Elin Jones *AM*"

Message = "You're stuffed."

Anonymous said...

Plaid are extremely good at making a bad situation worse. Confident, well organised parties and even UKIP [confident, disorganized] are able to manage things better. If you have cocked up, don't waste time and energy in engaging your critics like a terrier when every step repeats the allegations and highlights the problem concerned.

Anonymous said...

It was absolutely right for Elin Jones to make this complaint. It shows that Plaid Cymru is a serious party capable of taking on Labour. For a member of Plaid Cymru to seek to destabilise the campaign by accusing the candidate of “misleading people” and “telling blatant lies” is unacceptable behaviour.

The author of this blog showed no party loyalty or respect for the hundreds of party volunteers who gave hours and days and weeks of their time to Plaid Cymru in Ynys Mon in July 2013.

Efrogwr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Efrogwr said...

@ anon 13:56 Don't shoot the messenger! Don't you have a problem with the candidate on Môn not being straight about party policy on such an important issue and the wider problem of bigwigs in the party ignoring party policy to follow their own agendas or (in my view misplaced) calculations of short-term political gain? What you call "taking on Labour" looks to me like letting Labour set the agenda while risking foisting a nuclear white elephant on a country which Plaid is supposed to want to become independent and which already produces more electricity than it needs. Forget the substantive policy issue: what about showing loyalty and respect for the hundreds of party volunteers who give hours and days and weeks of their time to Plaid Cymru year-in, year-out, for example to attend National Conference and contribute to making what's supposed to be the party's policy?

Anonymous said...

Whatever the rights and wrongs, it has to be noted that party members flocked to campaign for Rhun. He is massively popular with the grassroots members and if you met him in that campaign you would give him the benefit of the doubt that he wanted the very best for the island and for Wales.

Efrogwr said...

@ Anon 15:13 - all the more reason why Rhun should have the confidence to stick to party policy or, if he does not agree with it, to say so and why.

Welsh not British said...

MH, was this email the first time that you were aware that it was Elin Jones who had made the complaint against you?

The fact it was Elin who complained is completely bizarre given that you have quoted her stating Plaid's official policy on nukes which completely backs you up.

The only reason her complaint would make any sense was if she did it specifically to bring the lies of her colleagues out into the open.

MH said...

I don't doubt that Rhun is popular, 15:13. His media profile makes him more well-known than many if not most other politicians.

But my question, from the outset, was how much we know about where he stands on policy issues ... and indeed about his character. I imagine that almost everyone in Plaid would give him the benefit of the doubt in the beginning, but that they would also assume that a Plaid politician would agree with Plaid's policies. That turned out to be a big mistake, for it was only after he'd been selected that he told the public that he was pro-Wylfa B.

As for wanting "the very best for the island and for Wales", I'd only note that this description probably applies to every candidate who stood in the by-election. I'm sure that Tal Michael wants "the very best for the island and for Wales", and that Nathan Gill, Neil Fairlamb, Kathrine Jones and Stephen Churchman want it too. Wanting the best for the island and for Wales is not exclusive to Plaid Cymru. Politics is all about choosing between different opinions of what is best.


Yes, Stu (WnB) I'm publishing the correspondence exactly as I sent and received it. I didn't know it was Elin who had made the complaint until this email of 19 October.

As it happens, what Chris included was only an edited version of her complaint. I received the full version later and it will be published in the next few days.

One rather strange thing is that her full complaint uses almost exactly the same words as used by the person who left the 13:56 comment. So that person was obviously aware of what she had written. Apart from her, the only people who would have known what it says are those involved in the disciplinary process or people that she (or they, or I) had told about it.

It's hard to know exactly what she thought to achieve by making the complaint. Maybe there is bluff and double bluff involved. But as 09:20 says, it has certainly served to bring everything back into the spotlight.

I have, unfortunately, been prevented from saying certain things for a few months because of the rule in Standing Orders about not making public statements until after the conclusion of any appeal. But rules are rules, and I'm happy to abide by them. However Elin would be a fool if she thought that this wouldn't become public after that point had been passed. In one sense, it doesn't matter, for whatever her reasons may be for doing it, I am certainly happy for it to be brought back into the spotlight.

So far, what I have published is just the initial skirmishes, but what I reveal in the next few days will be a political eye-opener. Watch this space.

Anonymous said...

A party in meltdown?

Confused policies, confused leadership quintet, confused membership.

Where will it all end?

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